It's no secret that smartphones are notorious battery hogs, with some devices having an almost embarrassing screen-on time. Those big luscious screens are an obvious drain on your battery, but did you know there's lots of things you can do behind the scenes to get the most out of your Android? Here's 16 tips and a video walkthrough to help you get the most out of your smartphone battery.
First, some background: most smartphones have either a Lithium Ion battery or a Lithium Polymer battery. Both are Lithium Ion though, and as such, do not have a ''memory'' which means you don't have to fully charge or discharge them at the beginning, and partial charging is fine throughout their life. In fact, these types of batteries suffer from low voltage, so it's actually much better to charge them, even if only a little, whenever you have the chance rather than to fully charge and fully drain them.
1. If your phone has an AMOLED screen (like most Samsungs), use a dark colored background, because AMOLED screens only illuminate the colored pixels. Black pixels are unlit, so the more black pixels you have, or the more darker pixels, the less battery you need to light them up.
2. Using darker app backgrounds/themes and darker launcher themes will further prolong your battery life (if your device has an AMOLED screen).
3. Don't use display auto-brightness. It may sound good, but auto-brightness is usually way brighter than you really need. It's much better to manually set a super low brightness level that is still comfortable, and then just bump it up when necessary. This is one of the main ways to improve your battery life as the screen is one of the biggest battery suckers.
4. Switch off vibrate. Unless you really need that added awareness, turn off vibration. It actually takes more power to vibrate your phone than it does to ring it. Turn off haptic feedback too. Sure it feels cool, but it doesn't really add anything to your experience, and it's another battery drainer.
5. Only use original batteries or respected third party manufacturer batteries. Saving a few bucks on a battery that might damage your beloved smartphone is a poor choice indeed, and may also deliver sub-standard battery performance.
6. Set your display's screen timeout to as short a time as is practical for you. Just think, if your screen timeout is set to a minute, it'll use four times the amount of power to have it on, every time you switch your screen on, than if your timeout is set to 15 seconds. Studies report the average smartphone user turns their smartphone on 150 times a day, so anything you can do to limit that frequency (through self-control or other methods listed below) will help keep your battery running for longer.
7. Set ''sleep times'' or ''blocking mode'' to switch off Wi-Fi and mobile data when you don't need them. If your phone is basically off limits at work, set your device to not ring, vibrate or connect to the internet while you're at work. Likewise, you can set your phone to airplane mode when you're asleep or use sleep or blocking modes to set up limits for what your phone does during certain times of the day, whether that's while you're asleep, at work or in a meeting. Get to know the specific settings your ROM offers. Not only will you have to fiddle with your phone less throughout the day (or night), but you'll be saving on battery life too.
8. Turn off smart features like air gestures, smart scrolling and the like, especially if you have a Samsung. Unless you really use these features every day, they're just using battery power for a feature you don't use.
9. Turn off GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi and mobile data whenever you don't need them. Turning off location data, or setting it to use Wi-Fi or 3G data rather than GPS works perfectly well. Only turn on Bluetooth and NFC as long as you need them, and there's no need to have both Wi-Fi and mobile data turned on at all times. If you use Wi-Fi a lot though, say at home and at work, then it makes sense to keep set your Wi-Fi to ''Always on during sleep'' as this uses less power than to have your Wi-Fi reconnecting every time you wake your phone.
10. Use lock screen widgets or notifications if your ROM supports them, or install an app that does it for you like Dynamic Notifications. You'll be able to get basically all your content without having to unlock your phone fully and navigating around. You still need to light your screen up, but you'll have it on for much less time than normal. If you have an AMOLED screen device, using a lock screen notification app with a black background can save your battery life significantly.
11. Ditch widgets you don't really need, especially those that are connected to the internet like weather widgets.
12. Keep your apps updated. There's a reason developers constantly update apps, and many of these reasons are memory and battery optimizations. Keeping your apps updated also means you have the best optimizations available. Likewise, delete old apps you no longer use, as these may be running background processes that chew up RAM and battery life.
13. If your phone has a battery or power saving mode or other battery management option, make use of it.
14. All ROMs, whether it's stock Android, OEM UI's like TouchWiz or custom ROMs like CyanogenMod, have various settings in the menu to help conserve or optimize battery consumption here and there. Find these various options for your device and ROM and make them work for you!
15. Turn off auto-syncing for Google accounts. If you don't need every single Google account updated every fifteen minutes, just go into your Settings and Google account and turn off auto-sync for those apps you don't need constantly updated.
16. Set apps to update only when you launch them. If you rarely (or very frequently) open an app, it might be better to only have it update when you do so, rather than updating automatically all the time via push notifications or sync intervals. If you only check email once a day, why not let the app update then only, and if you're on a widget or app every couple of hours anyway then why not have it update each time rather than every fifteen minutes when you're not even looking at it.
And one extra tip for our readers that's not in the video: change your Google Play Store settings to manual update your apps. If you have the Play Store set to auto-update, you might have fifteen apps updating when you least expect it, destroying your battery life (and data plan) without you realizing it. If you use even half of these battery saving tips you'll see a marked improvement in your battery life.
What have we missed? What other tips do you have to save your battery life?